The Center, Livingston, welcomed shoppers today with an impressive art display around the mall and for some of the mall’s lucky first shoppers, flowers, gift cards and chocolates as a thank you for their continued support.
The idea for the exhibition, which will be added throughout the year, features a mix of art forms, including large-scale sketches and typographic murals by internationally renowned artists including Gregor Louden. , Cassandra Harrison and Mark McPhelim and a young astrophotographer, Helena Cochrane, is to create an uplifting and inspiring experience in the mall that would bring a smile to the faces of their much-missed visitors.
Artist Gregor Louden, who grew up in Livingston, has passed the lockdown to create his ‘All Roads Lead to The Center’ artwork which spans 60 feet long by 25 feet tall and depicts local places of interest from his childhood including Livingston Skateboard Park, the Kirk of Calder Maison Houstoun.
It also pays tribute to members of the community, including local heroes, shoppers, retailers and the customer service, housekeeping and maintenance teams at the mall, all of whom have played a major role. in the safety of people and the protection of each other. year.
Former high school student James Young, whose first commission for the mall was part of a Frog Sculpture Art Trail in 2017, studied illustration and animation at the University of Manchester in 1999 and since then has hiked the world by exhibiting his work in many cities, including Philadelphia and Berlin, far from the murals he designed at Livingston Skateboard Park as a teenager, which continue to inspire his work.
‘Community Connections’ is another impressive 20ft x 20ft piece of art on display in the mall by artist Cassandra Harrison, whose work has been exhibited across the UK and US and who has also worked with the Center to host a series of online children’s art classes during the first lockdown.
Its vibrant and playful take on Livingston and its surrounds showcases the mall at the heart of the community, with local landmarks such as Howden House and Livingston Village Kirk sitting next to playgrounds, green spaces and the river. Almond. Along with Gregor’s work, “Community Connections” is available to shoppers as a postcard in exchange for donations to the mall’s charitable partner, Tiny Changes.
‘Hug’, by artist and graphic designer Mark McPhelim, is an artwork also featured, reminiscent of recent times when we couldn’t be with loved ones and hug each other.
A series of photographs, including ‘The Mineral Moon’ and ‘The Orion Nebula’, by Helena Cochrane, a 16-year-old astrophotographer who began taking pictures of the night sky at the age of seven years as a result of a school space project, are also on display. who now has thousands of followers on her YouTube channel, “Helena’s Astrophotography”.
Ashley Bisland, deputy center director at the Center, said: “We really missed seeing our buyers, it was fantastic to be able to welcome them back today with an art and photography exhibit that captures the true spirit. of our community and pays tribute to so many people who have come together to support and help each other throughout the past year.
“The Center has always been a proud supporter of the arts, working with a number of artists including Gregor on our Frog Sculpture Art Trail and with Cassandra who hosted online art classes for children during the first lockdown. Now more than ever, it’s critical that we celebrate the industry – from established artists to emerging young talent.
“The art exhibit, which will be added throughout the year, showcases a mix of exceptional and impressive techniques and styles by some very talented creatives who have all been fantastic to work with.
“We’re sure this will bring a smile to the faces of our buyers after a tough year, whether they see it in person or online on our website, and it will also help raise awareness and fundraise for our charity partner,” Tiny Changes.
“It was also great to present thank you gifts to a few of our first customers as a thank you for their continued support over the past year.”
Shopper Rachel Mills from Penicuik said, “It’s so good to be back at the Center in Livingston for some shopping and lunch. I really missed it. Mostly stores like JD Sports and Primark.
“I can’t believe the last time I went shopping was in December – it feels good – like Christmas!
Mandy Simpson from Bathgate, who was visiting the mall to do some shopping with her partner, said: “I love being back at the Center, Livingston today – it was especially nice to be greeted and presented with. flowers, a gift card and a goodie bag which was a nice surprise.
Gregor Louden said: “It has been great to work with the Center again on another art project, especially growing up in Livingston and being able to remember so many brilliant memories of places in and around the city. and create sketches around them, as well as tributes to some of the amazing people who are at the heart of Livingston and who help make it a great place.
Cassandra Harrison added: “Being invited to participate in the art show was a great opportunity for me to work with the mall again and showcase my work. Every part of the journey of creating my work has been a fantastic experience which I hope brightens the day for all who see it. “
A giant ‘Messages of Kindness’ rainbow mural, created as part of the Centre’s ‘Year of Kindness’ campaign will also be on display, made up of inspiring messages sent by the local community and including notes. to loved ones, motivational words and inspirational quotes.
The Center has also invited past and present art and photography students from West Lothian College to enter a competition to enter the exhibition, with the winning works being unveiled this summer.